Saturday, 21 April 2012

Sen Monorom; Elephant Valley Project

The reason most tourists seem to be in Sen Monorom, including us, is to visit the Elephant Vally Project. A project set up by an Englishman; Jack to rescue abused and injured working elephants and provide them with a safe natural environment where they can live out the rest of their days. Jack rents the jungle land from local farmers and brings the Elephants here either by buying them from the owners or by renting them on a long term basis to keep them out of work. The elephants are then free to roam, bathe and feed as they please in the valley. Each elephant still has a mahout to keep an eye on it for the safety of visitors and to stop them straying into surrounding cropland which would cause conflict with the local farmers.
>We begin our visit walking down into the valley to watch Bob and his girlfriend Onion having their morning bath and mud-covering session in the river. After them four other elephants come down, skip the bathing and go straight for the mud! It's amazing to watch them in a natural environment, just doing what they do, spraying mud and water everywhere and rubbing everything into the muddy bank. They're so close but seem so wild it's a magical experience. They spend most of the morning wallowing, even when the mahouts tell them to go and eat, they ignore them; happy in their mud bath. Eventually they wander out and make their way to some good scratching tree trunks. We walk alongside them and laugh as they bend trees right over scratching their heads, bums and trunks against them. We follow them into the forest for a while under the spell of their charm until it's time to return to camp for lunch.
After a delicious lunch we make our way, with Jack, into the second valley which is home to four more elephants and we find them also enjoying a good soak in their own muddy river. We spend the afternoon watching them while Jack tells us their stories. They are entrancing to watch and none of us wants to leave them at the end of the visit. At least they now have a nice home after their hard lives and if people keep visiting hopefully Jack can rescue the rest of the mistreated elephants in Mondulkiri.

1 comment:

  1. While the project is Mondulkiri's most popular attraction with visitors and there are multiple blogs and positive reviews of visitors enjoying it. This is hardly the case when you ask most locals, There seems to be a lot of frustration and a growing gap between the two sides.
    Accourding to locals : the entire operation is a highly profitable, western owned enterprise is the guise of a Cambodian organization. Accourding to E.L.I.E - Locals are exploiting the elephants and they are better off away from their local families, under superior western supervised eco-petting-zoo, catering to paying contributers.
    you can read more from this link :